One feared dead, other injured in Kwara hijab crisis

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Controversy over hijab-wearing by Muslim students in Oyun Baptist High School (OBHS) Ijagbo, Oyun local government area of Kwara state turned bloody on Thursday.

One person was feared killed and some others allegedly sustained various degrees of injuries.

Unconfirmed sources said that unknown persons armed with dangerous weapons unleashed terror on peaceful protesters at the school.

It was gathered the protest was borne out of the January 17th decision of authorities of the school to prevent hijab-wearing Muslim pupils from entering the school.

Consequently, the State Government intervened and directed that the status quo be maintained, saying that hijab or beret-wearing should be made optional in all grant-aided schools.

To prevent escalation of the fracas, the State Government announced the closure of the school.

Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development Sa’adatu Modibbo Kawu said: “The state government totally condemns the resort to violence in the government-owned Oyun Baptist Secondary School, Ijagbo, on Thursday. This is totally unacceptable.

“The state government unreservedly condemns the flagrant act of discrimination against anyone, especially children, on religious grounds. Such discrimination will not be tolerated in any public-owned institution in the state.

*While the government and the security agencies continue to work with leaders on all sides, it hereby directs the immediate shutdown of the school pending resolution of the issue.

“The government commends the security agencies for their prompt action that has restored calm in the area. The government calls on them to investigate and bring to book anyone linked to the violence as deterrence to others.

“The government appeals for calm as violence brings nothing good.”

Kwara Police Command said it had restored normalcy in the area.

It added: ” The Command’s tactical units and conventional policemen deployed to Ijagbo had successfully restored peace and are also on ground to ensure that no further break down of law and order is allowed.”

In a statement, the Command’s spokesman Ajayi Okasanmi said that: “Of current concern was the breakdown of law and others between Ijagbo community and protesting Muslim parents, where dangerous weapons were freely used.

“The command has appealed to the warring parties to embrace peace and shun any act that could jeopardize the current peace in the area, as the police have been directed to arrest anyone found in any way truncating the hard-earned peace in the state and such persons would be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

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